In her practice, Dr. Jacqui sees dogs and cats with a variety of behavioral problems from aggression to house-soiling. She frequently lectures to veteranarians and the public about canine and feline behavior.
Odors are an important part of our daily lives: the smell of brewing coffee starts our day off on the right foot, the perfume of a fragrant rose can lift our spirits and the wafting, rich scents of a freshly baked pie can bring us comfort and make us hungry! On the other hand, bad odors like sulfur (think rotten eggs) can make us recoil in disgust.
Odors also serve an important role in many feline endeavors including feeding, social interactions and territorial delineation. Cats' noses are much more sensitive than their human counterparts: cats have been shown to possess a more complex mechanism for signaling odor information than that of the humans and other species. These differences in scent processing may be critically important to the domestic cat, who is co-habiting with humans and exposed to human selected scents throughout the home in the form of cleansers, candles, air fresheners, etc. This superior ability to detect odor also will impact how they perceive stinky odors — they may be magnified several times for the cat!
Most humans want a clean smelling home and, in a survey, it was found that concern about litterbox odor was a barrier to cat adoption. A smelly litterbox is also a problem for cats: it is considered a common reason for feline litterbox rejection and subsequent house-soiling. So how can we keep the home smelling fresh for people and their cats? Consider the following tips:
In the Litterbox:
Rapid and effective odor absorption will prevent the box from smelling and prevent odors from drifting throughout the home.
Cats are clean animals and spend a significant portion of their daily time budget engaged in grooming activities. However hair and odors can accumulate where they regularly rest. Routinely launder pet bedding to prevent odor build up; if your cat prefers to lounge on your furniture, place a throw blanket over the furniture for easy washing.
All household members — pets and their people — will appreciate efforts to keep the house smelling fresh and clean!